Welcoming the royal baby

The whole world is congratulating the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – Harry and Meghan – on the birth of their son. Prince Harry's unconcealed joy as he spoke to reporters, saying the baby was 'to die for', was a delight to see – as was his tribute to Meghan as he said, 'How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension.'

The Duke and Duchess, married for only a year, are very popular members of the Royal Family. Harry has long outgrown his 'playboy prince' image, though – widely respected as he has become for his work with military veterans and conservation – he's retained his easy charisma and good humour. Meghan has won plaudits for her straightforwardness and charm, and the way she's adapted so well to her new role. Between them they are held up as examples not just of how the monarchy has adapted to changing times, but of good and decent people.

And this reflects the most important thing of all about yesterday's announcement: not that the Duchess of Sussex has given birth to the seventh in line to the British throne, but that a child has been born to loving parents. This is normal – it's what happens thousands of times every day. Fathers are joyful, like Harry, at their child's birth. Mothers, like Meghan, are often just tired.

In other words: this baby is special, but so is every baby who has ever been born, because each one is made in the image of God (Genesis 1.26) and is a child of God: 'Don't we all have the same father? Didn't the same God create us all?' (Malachi 2.10).

As the exhilaration of the birth subsides and the hard work of parenting begins, Harry and Meghan set out on the same journey as every other parent. They'll know joys and sorrows, and sometimes they'll know they've got things wrong. But the picture the Bible gives us of parenthood is of a harmonious, loving and supportive relationship between generations. 'Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing,' says the Psalmist (127.3).

As Harry and Meghan begin their new task, we pray for this new family – and for every family on the same pathway.

Loving God, we thank you for the birth of a child to Harry and Meghan. Thank you for the love they share, and for the joy this has brought to them and their wider family.

We pray for them as they begin the task of parenthood, that they will be wise and patient, with their child and with each other.

We pray for their son, that he may flourish and thrive in body, mind and spirit.

We pray that you will bless them with the knowledge of your presence with them now and your eternal love for them.

And we pray that as so many around the world rejoice at this birth, they may be reminded once again that every child is precious in your sight.

Amen.

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